One of the silliest ways I like to learn: speak Spanish like I’m a luchador announcer! Is this because I’m totally crazy? (Don’t answer that!) The reason this works is because in order to speak like a luchador announcer, I have to open my mouth wide and really enunciate every syllable. “Eeeeen está rrrrrrrincón…”
Of course, one of the best ways to learn another language is through immersion in a foreign country, however, not everybody can pack up and go live in a Spanish-speaking country for over a year. (I know I can’t) We have busy lives, jobs, families, and friends. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you learn & speak Spanish without needing to pack your bags!
Watch Television and Learn
One of the benefits of language immersion is learning to speak Spanish the way native Spanish speakers speak it (that was a tongue twister!) Constantly hearing their enunciation, tones and cadence helps you learn to mimic those sounds. Don’t worry though, you can get plenty of native Spanish speaking sounds in your head without ever leaving home.
There are so many learning tools out there vying for your attention, including Rosetta Stone. But honestly, I think Rosetta Stone sucks. You don’t need to waste your hard-earned cash when you can use learning tools that are infinitely cheaper, such as LoMásTV.
I’m such a huge fan of LoMásTv, it’s like YouTube, but in Spanish! Actually, for learning Spanish, it’s better than YouTube. For instance, you can’t slow YouTube down when the speaker seems to be speaking a million words a minute, but with LoMásTV, you can! There are TONS of great online videos, with subtitles, from native Spanish speakers that will seriously increase your reading and listening comprehension. Choose from TV programs, documentaries, interviews, and even music videos (which means you get to dance AND learn Spanish at the same time). In fact, here’s a free demo video featuring Shakira that gives you a taste of how much fun learning Spanish can be when using music. An’ don’t forget to shake what your mama gave ya!
Now Hear This!
Another awesome way to listen to native Spanish speakers is by using RhinoSpike. You can submit text that you’d like read back to you in Spanish. Isn’t that cool? You can also load the audio files onto your iPod to listen to them while you’re out and about. Oh, and an extra special bonus is that you can help others learn English by recording your own voice for the phrases others wish to learn. Talk about a win-win!
Sound It Out
If you’re not excited about shouting like a luchador announcer, here’s something else you can do to improve your Spanish speaking skills after listening to native Spanish speakers from LoMásTv or RhinoSpike. Take a word, or a phrase and slowly sound out each syllable, opening your mouth really wide. Yes it looks and sounds funny, so maybe you should do this exercise when you’re alone…or when you’re driving in your car, so the rest of us can drive by and laugh at you! Kidding…we’d never do that!
Next take that same phrase or word, and just sound out the vowels as they are pronounced in the word. For example, ¨tengo mucho miedo a las arañas¨ would be: “e-o-u-o-ie-o-a-a-a-a-a.”
You now have some great new ways to learn & speak Spanish whenever and wherever! If you need a quick reference on how to pronounce Spanish letters, use this free resource from Rocket Spanish.
You are on your way to quickly learning the rules and little nuances that make up the Spanish language. Luchador mask definitely not necessary, but infinitely more fun!
How have you increased your listening comprehension without immersion? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.